The brackets have been released, the teams have been seeded and the matchups have been set. The most exciting time of the year for almost all basketball fans starts right now, with the NMAA high school State Tournament gearing up, bleeding right into the NCAA national tournament. Before we make it to college-level, though, we get to enjoy the preps.
With no disrespect shown to the smaller schools, the first look is at the 5A girls field. Eldorado captured the first seed and reaped may rewards. The first big noticeable effect is a lack of in-district opponents unless the Eagles make it to the championship game. Both Sandia and La Cueva made the tourney on the other side of the bracket, as the 7 and 6 seed, respectively, so it's certainly a possibility. However, with Clovis clocking in as the second seed, Volcano Vista as the 3, and Mayfield rounding things up as the 4 seed, the field is a tough one. No one school's path looks easy, even if Eldorado avoids their in-district competition. Volcano Vista might have an issue with the slight of receiving a 3 seed, but if they've been bumped up a spot, they still would have been on the same side of the bracket, and they'd be facing a potential matchup with Sandia much more quickly.
The talk begins with Eldorado, as the 1 seed, and stays focused in the heights thanks to the power of that district. However, such shading shouldn't cause anyone to overlook Hobbs – the Eagles come in as the 5 seed; Las Cruces – the Lady Bulldawgs went 17-9 in the regular season and 6-2 in their district – or the upset-minded Carlsbad Cavegirls, who enter the tournament on a losing streak of pretty serious proportions, and who have to be eager to put an end to that.
The boys bracket confirms what most watchers have known all year long: the Las Cruces Bulldawgs are the number one team in the state. Albuquerque High, La Cueva – perhaps by virtue of winning Round 4 on Saturday night – and Cibola wrap up the top four seeds in the boys tournament.
However, once again, there is a concentration of wealth from Albuquerque. Unlike the girls tournament though, this power is divided between two regions, the first being the west side. Aforementioned Cibola is the 4 seed, but Volcano Vista also represents at the 7 spot, and Rio Rancho squeezes in at number 16. No surprise where the other pocket pops up: the northeast heights of Albuquerque look to make another strong push for supremacy with Eldorado at the 5 seed, Manzano at the 13, and Sandia at 11.
With 9 of the 16 teams in the field being from the city, Albuquerque has once again staked a claim as the seat of power, but Las Cruces has looked incredible all year. Surely, the team is fired up to prove something for their southern citizens.
The first round of state basketball games are played at the home gym of the higher seed. After that, all boys games are played at the Pit, near UNM's campus, and girls' games are played at the Santa Ana Star Center. Class A quarterfinals will be played at Bernalillo High School. As always, the games can be streamed via ProView Networks, given that you are a paid subscriber.